Autumn in the garden at Mottisfont

Autumn sunlight from behind a tree in the gardens at Mottisfont

Our gardens are taking on the colours of autumn: ancient trees around the grounds are crowning themselves in shades of red and gold. Take a slow stroll beside the river, looking out for trout in the Test's clear waters, and head up to the paddock to see a sculpture by Peter Frie among season's changing colours. You can also explore the gardens with a creative trail for adult visitors.

To help keep everyone safe, please follow social distancing and government guidance when you visit our gardens. There are one-way routes for the walled gardens (with some small areas closed off), the river walk and the meadow. The winter garden and font stream pathway remain closed for now.

Please note that there are currently further route restrictions in and around the walled Kitchen Garden while we carry out some essential tree works in the area.

Autumn colours

The stately trees which frame our house and grounds are taking on shades of red, orange and gold. We’re home to the National Collection of plane trees, including the great plane - thought to be the largest of its kind in Britain. Framing the east side of the house, this veteran tree boasts a dazzling autumn display to greet you as you enter our grounds.

Chestnut trees lining the upper half of our main pathway glow with yellow-orange leaves. Another star of our colourful show is the hornbeam, which explodes into a canopy of orange and scarlet. Two tulip trees also come into their own during this season, as their acid green summer foliage turns a magnificent pale gold.

Our tulip trees turn a magnificent shade of gold in autumn
Bright gold leaves displayed on a tulip tree in the grounds at Mottisfont, Hampshire
Our tulip trees turn a magnificent shade of gold in autumn

The last summer colours linger on in the walled gardens, with some late blooms in the herbaceous borders. Our once-flowering roses have left behind colourful, ornamental fruits, or 'heps'. These brighten the gardens at this time of year, and provide local birds with an important source of food.

In 2018, we created an innovative new Kitchen Garden here, which embodies Mottisfont’s medieval history and productive past. While we weren’t able to fill our Kitchen Garden with produce as normal this year, there are still some displays of scented herbs and flowers in red brick raised beds.

You may find that our gardens aren’t quite as you’re used to seeing them. We had few gardeners in the property during lockdowns, while everyone stayed home and stayed safe. We have a small team in now, but nowhere near what we’re used to, so the gardens aren’t perhaps as well-groomed as you might be expecting, with some weeds and rough edges.

Please bear with us while we work through this, and we hope that you can still enjoy the seasonal pleasures our grounds still have to offer.   

The art of autumn

From October, adult visitors can explore our gardens with a creative trail.

Throughout its long history, Mottisfont has been a place of contemplation and inspiration. Artists of all kinds still come here today to reflect, observe and seek ideas, and we invite you to do the same. Everyone can be creative, just let your imagination flow - it might surprise you.

Look out for points around the grounds which we've highlighted as sources of inspiration. You'll be prompted to look around you in new ways and respond to what you see; whether it's by using photography, sketching, creative writing – or any other medium you choose.

Or you could simply take time to pause, immerse yourself in our history, and absorb your surroundings. You can always take the moment home with you, and see what inspiration brings later. Join us on a journey and find your creative voice.

As you walk towards the walled gardens, look out for Peter Frie's Big Yamutree on the paddock. This bronze and stainless steel sculpture will weather the seasons here until early 2021, on loan from from NewArtCentre, Roche Court.

Big Yamutree, by Peter Frie
A bronze sculpture of a tree in the gardens at Mottisfont
Big Yamutree, by Peter Frie